Elon Musk's space company aims to get going again in November

Elon Musk’s space company aims to get going again in November

by Irene Klotz  2016-09-14 15:38:39.0

CAPE CANAVERAL — SpaceX aims to resume flights in November after the launch pad fire that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and an Israeli communications satellite it was to put in orbit.

Falcon 9 flights have been suspended while the space services company investigates why the rocket burst into flames on September 1 while it being fuelled for a routine prelaunch test at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Gwynne Shotwell, president of Elon Musk’s space company, said in Paris on Tuesday that his company expected to be down for three months.

Shotwell did not say what if any repairs to the rocket were needed to return SpaceX to flight in November.

The company also didn’t say how much damage the blast caused to the launch pad and support equipment. The accident destroyed the $200m satellite owned by Israel’s Space Communication.

SpaceX previously said a second launch site in Florida at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) would be completed in November. The pad was last used to launch Nasa’s space shuttles five years ago.

Nasa said on Tuesday said it had no reservations about SpaceX flying at Kennedy.

“We’re confident that SpaceX will understand and recover from what happened,” said Tom Engler, KSC deputy planning and development director.

An insider said the first flight from the KSC launch pad would be a Falcon 9 rocket, not the debut flight of Falcon Heavy, as previously scheduled. The Falcon Heavy, a 27-engine version of the nine-engine Falcon 9, would probably fly in the first quarter of 2017.

The customer for SpaceX’s return-to-flight mission has not yet been named. Before the accident, the next satellite slated to fly aboard a Falcon 9 from Florida was owned by Luxembourg-based SES.

SpaceX’s west coast launch site at Vandenberg Air Force, California, would also be ready to support a launch in the November timeframe, the source said.

Before the accident, SpaceX was targeting a September launch from California for Iridium Communications.

SpaceX has a backlog of more than 70 missions, involving more than $10bn. Before the September 1 accident, Falcon 9 rockets had flown 27 times successfully and failed once.

Reuters

BATTERY POWER: South African-born Elon Musk is CEO of Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity. Picture: SUPPLIED

Elon Musk. Picture: REUTERS

CAPE CANAVERAL — SpaceX aims to resume flights in November after the launch pad fire that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and an Israeli communications satellite it was to put in orbit.

Falcon 9 flights have been suspended while the space services company investigates why the rocket burst into flames on September 1 while it being fuelled for a routine prelaunch test at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Gwynne Shotwell, president of Elon Musk’s space company, said in Paris on Tuesday that his company expected to be down for three months.

Shotwell did not say what if any repairs to the rocket were needed to return SpaceX to flight in November.

The company also didn’t say how much damage the blast caused to the launch pad and support equipment. The accident destroyed the $200m satellite owned by Israel’s Space Communication.

SpaceX previously said a second launch site in Florida at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) would be completed in November. The pad was last used to launch Nasa’s space shuttles five years ago.

Nasa said on Tuesday said it had no reservations about SpaceX flying at Kennedy.

“We’re confident that SpaceX will understand and recover from what happened,” said Tom Engler, KSC deputy planning and development director.

An insider said the first flight from the KSC launch pad would be a Falcon 9 rocket, not the debut flight of Falcon Heavy, as previously scheduled. The Falcon Heavy, a 27-engine version of the nine-engine Falcon 9, would probably fly in the first quarter of 2017.

The customer for SpaceX’s return-to-flight mission has not yet been named. Before the accident, the next satellite slated to fly aboard a Falcon 9 from Florida was owned by Luxembourg-based SES.

SpaceX’s west coast launch site at Vandenberg Air Force, California, would also be ready to support a launch in the November timeframe, the source said.

Before the accident, SpaceX was targeting a September launch from California for Iridium Communications.

SpaceX has a backlog of more than 70 missions, involving more than $10bn. Before the September 1 accident, Falcon 9 rockets had flown 27 times successfully and failed once.

Reuters